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Monday, 03 October 2016 17:35

Frieze London, Frieze Masters Open This Week

Frieze London and Frieze Masters open this week (October 6-9) at the Regents Park in London. It’s their 14th and 5th editions, respectively; the fairs will bring together more than 300 of the world’s leading contemporary art galleries from 30 countries. Frieze London will feature The Nineties, a new gallery section curated by Nicolas Trembley, as well as ambitious installations and solo presentations by the world’s most exciting artists, including many major female figures. Frieze Masters will excite with new curators, innovative gallery collaborations, incoming antiquities specialists, and Frieze Master Talks that will feature Marlene Dumas, Okwui Enwezor, Gabriele Finaldi, Philippe Parreno, Alastair Sooke and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. Frieze Sculpture Park will open concurrently with the fair and will remain on view through January 2017.

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On July 9, Christie’s London will continue its tradition of French decorative arts sales with a “Taste of the Royal Court: Important French Furniture and Works of Art From A Private Collection.”

The sale comprises 22 lots of 18th century French decorative arts including an exquisite armchair made for Queen Marie Antoinette (estimate £300,000-500,000) and an extremely rare bureau plat by Charles Cressent (estimate £1-1.5million). The sale is expected to bring in over £6 million ($9.24 million).

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An old woman, back bent and teeth buckled, kneels on the floor; beside her lie two vessels and a shallow bowl and spoon. Her gaze is misted and sad, but her eyes meet the viewer’s; in her arms, about to be devoured, is a newborn baby. In a picture nearby an elderly couple fly up into the air together, her arms clutch his legs, his outstretched hands clack castanets, associated with music, sensuality and sex. Their faces are angled towards each other, crimped with glee. The walls of the Courtauld Gallery in London are currently crowded with similar images: unsettling and superstitious, erotic and grotesque.

“Goya: The Witches and Old Women Album”, an ambitious new exhibition, opened this week. It marks the first time an institution or individual has tried to reconstitute one of Francisco Goya’s sketchbooks, which were broken up in 1826 after his death.

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The Smithsonian plans to open its first international exhibition space at a new cultural complex being developed at the former Olympic park in London, officials announced Tuesday.

The deal would mark the first time in the institution’s 168-year history that it would have a public presence outside the United States. It also would make the Smithsonian part of an elite group of museums — including the Guggenheim in New York and the Louvre in Paris — that have opened venues in other parts of the world.

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A string of blockbuster shows at  London’s world-renowned museums helped to attract record numbers of tourists to the capital in the first half of this year, according to figures released today.

Tate Modern’s "Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs" exhibition pushed  the number of visits to the gallery to almost 700,000 in the first six months of 2014 — up from 425,000 for the same period last year.

Official figures released today put the capital on course for its most successful tourism year. International tourists made 8.459 million trips to London between January and July, a 7.6 per cent increase on 2013.

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London’s Mayfair is set to get another new addition come September. Former directors of Haunch of Venison Ben Tufnell and Matt Watkins announced on Monday that they will open Parafin gallery in September 2014. The gallery will be located at 18 Woodstock Street, just off of New Bond Street.

Tufnell and and Watkins are joined by Nicholas Rhodes in opening Parafin. Rhodes was formerly the director of gallery and publisher Master Piper and a director at Albion Gallery.

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Damien Hirst’s art complex in south London, which was initially due to open this year, will take a little longer to complete. A spokeswoman for Science Ltd, Hirst’s company, says that it is now due to open “in May or June” next year. The centre, which is designed by Caruso St John architects, runs the length of Newport Street in Vauxhall. The former theatre carpentry and scenery production workshops will become six galleries. Office space and a restaurant are also planned.

Early in 2012, Hirst announced plans for the ambitious new venue which, he said will provide a place to show his collection of contemporary art. Hirst is now looking to hire a collection and exhibitions co-ordinator who will be based at the Newport Street complex.

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Records tumbled this season in the highest-grossing flagship summer auctions that Sotheby’s London has ever seen. Together, sales in the four key categories of Old Masters, Impressionist & Modern, Contemporary Art and ‘Treasures’ totalled a record £360 million - with top estimates repeatedly smashed and record numbers of participants engaging in the sales.

The strong results were fuelled by a burgeoning interest from collectors from the new markets - many of whom are making their presence ever more strongly felt in Sotheby’s London salerooms, their interest constantly expanding into an ever broader range of fields.

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On February 5, Sotheby’s London’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale fetched 163.5 million pounds, significantly more than its pre-sale estimate of 128.4 million pounds. Out of the 89 lots offered, 10 failed to find buyers.

The highlight of the sale was Camille Pissarro’s ‘Boulevard Montmartre, Matinee de Printemps,’ a street scene that sold for a record 19.9 million pounds, nearly five times the previous record for the Impressionist master at auction. The painting, which is widely considered to be one of the most important Impressionist works to appear at auction in the last decade, was originally owned by the Jewish industrialist, Max Silberberg. During World War II, the Nazis forced Silberberg, who perished in a concentration camp, to get rid of his entire collection of 19th and 20th century artworks. ‘Boulevard Montmartre, Matinee de Printemps’ was restituted to Silberberg’s family in 2000.

The auction also saw the highest price for a Vincent Van Gogh painting offered at auction in London when ‘L’Homme est en mer’ sold for 16.9 million pounds. Other highlights included a print by Pablo Picasso titled ‘Composition au Minotaure,’ which sold for a record 10.4 million pounds and a work on paper by Alberto Giacometti titled ‘Homme Traversant une Place par un Matin de Soleil,’ which achieved a record 8.5 million pounds.

Two weeks of London sales kicked off on February 4 at Christie’s where works by Picasso, Rene Magritte and Juan Gris helped an auction reach 177 million pounds, a record for a sale in London. During the sale, Gris’ still-life ‘Nature Morte a la Nappe a Carreaux’ sold for 34.8 million pounds, a world record for the Spanish artist at auction.

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Christie’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale took place on June 18, 2013 in London. The sale garnered $100.4 million and sold 84% by lot and 87% by value. The top lot of the night was Wassily Kandinsky’s (1866-1944) Studie zu Improvisation 3 (1909), which sold for $21.1 million, a few million shy of its $24.7 million high estimate. The painting is from the artist’s renowned “Improvisation” series, which signaled his transition into abstraction. Many of Kandinsky’s works from this period reside in museum collections.

Other highlights from the sale include Amedeo Modigliani’s (1884-1920) portrait of the art dealer Paul Guillame (1916), which brought $10.6 million; Pablo Picasso’s (1881-1973) Femme assise dans un fauteuil (1960), which sold for $9.5 million; Claude Monet’s (1840-1926) landscape painting Sainte-Adresse (1873), which garnered $4.4 million; and Auguste Rodin’s (1840-1917) iconic marble sculpture Eve après le péché (1900-1915), which earned $4.4 million. Records were set for Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957) and Eugène Boudin (1824-1898).

Jay Vincze, International Director and Head of Impressionist and Modern Art at Christie’s London, said, “There was great depth of bidding on works of high quality at all price levels, with strong participation from many new and existing collectors from both traditional and growth markets.”

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